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Areva reports flaw in nuclear reactor vessel

Areva European Pressurized Reactor nuclear Flamanville 3 France EDF

Areva reported it has found a flaw in the reactor vessel head and bottom of its European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) that is under construction in at least two nuclear power projects.

Areva said it discovered the flawed steel during mechanical and chemical tests on a representative model and reported the results to the French Nuclear Safety Authority. The steel showed a greater than average carbon content, which leads to lower mechanical strength. Areva said it will carry out further tests on the reactor. The results of the tests will be revealed in October.

The EPR is under construction at the Flamanville project in France and the Olkiluoto 3 project in Finland. The completion of both projects has been delayed by several years, and they are facing increasing construction costs. Areva is also facing several years of decreasing profits due to the delays and changing attitudes toward nuclear. The government is considering merging certain parts of Areva with utility Electricite de France (EDF).

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